MILLEDGEVILLE — Communities In Schools of Milledgeville-Baldwin County’s (CISMBC) mission is to help students stay in school and prepare for life by decreasing unmet needs of children and families. For the past three years, CISMBC has operated a uniform and school supply closet at Eagle Ridge Elementary School as a way to ensure students are ready to learn and decrease the financial burden on local parents.
“It’s a great resource. A lot of families are here don’t have the extra money to buy school uniforms or school supplies,” said Christi Tyson, CISMBC site coordinator for Eagle Ridge. “The first year Communities In Schools started here, the school already had the uniform closet, which was run by the school council. We added the school supply closet and took over the uniform closet.”
Last school year alone, Tyson provided 102 uniform pieces to students in need.
“The number of students needing uniforms is going up every year. When school started, we had a few families call the school to tell office staff that they needed school clothes. By the middle of the school year, we start seeing students outgrow their clothes and their book bags start tearing up, and parents can’t afford replacing it,” Tyson said. “Our uniform and supply closets are very important to students and families to have this resource available to them. If a student doesn’t have a pencil or certain school supply, the teacher also doesn’t have to spend their own money to help the student; we have the school supply closet.”
The local organization expanded its site coordinator program into Creekside Elementary School this academic year. Each site coordinator works in collaboration with fellow site coordinators to bring resources to their individual schools, including Early Learning Center, Midway Elementary School and Baldwin High School. An AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer provides support at Blandy Hills Elementary to offer some of the same benefits as the other schools. CISMBC hopes to raise enough funds to hire a full-time site coordinator at Blandy by next year.